Here is one more reason to have your smartphone sewn onto your hand: the iHollaback movement. This is a story about holding harassers accountable. It is about naming the act (saying “Hot Pussy is not a way to say hello!), making the harasser the subject of attention (“Hey, man in the yellow shirt, quit grabbing my ass”) and when possible, posting his description, photo, or video on the internet for all the world to see. Wanna harass me? iHollaback.
The iHollaback movement was started in 2005 and now has members and chapters all around the world. Here is what they are up to in their own words:
“Hollaback! is a movement dedicated to ending street harassment using mobile technology. Street harassment is one of the most pervasive forms of gender-based violence and one of the least legislated against. Comments from “You’d look good on me” to groping, flashing and assault are a daily, global reality for women and LGBTQ individuals. But it is rarely reported, and it’s culturally accepted as ‘the price you pay’ for being a woman or for being gay. At Hollaback!, we don’t buy it.
We believe that everyone has a right to feel safe and confident without being objectified. Sexual harassment is a gateway crime that creates a cultural environment that makes gender-based violence OK. There exists a clear legal framework to reproach sexual harassment and abuse in the home and at work, but when it comes to the streets—all bets are off. This gap isn’t because street harassment hurts any less, it’s because there hasn’t been a solution. Until now. The explosion of mobile technology has given us an unprecedented opportunity to end street harassment—and with it, the opportunity to take on one of the final new frontiers for women’s rights around the world.
By collecting women and LGBTQ folks’ stories and pictures in a safe and share-able way with our very own mobile phone applications, Hollaback! is creating a crowd-sourced initiative to end street harassment. Hollaback! breaks the silence that has perpetuated sexual violence internationally, asserts that any and all gender-based violence is unacceptable, and creates a world where we have an option—and, more importantly—a response.”
What’s on their website?
I spent some time exploring the iHollaback website – a fascinating and disconcerting way to spend a couple of hours. Let me give you a flavor of the stories, photos, and videos that document the pervasive nature of street harassment and what can be accomplished when people Hollaback (warning: pretty explicit stuff coming up):
- Lauren’s story: “I saw this man’s boner on my way home from work. I noticed him touching himself in front of me on a crowded train (the Brooklyn-bound F around 6:50 pm 6/27/11, between Jay St & 4th Ave.) and looked down to see his pants unzipped, with the shape of his hard penis sheathed in nothing but gray boxer briefs. He kept trying (unsuccessfully) to pull his shirt down over his “situation.” I was shaking too much to say anything. All I could do was snap a photo. I regretted not speaking up the minute I got off the train. I even contemplated darting back on and yelling “Attention women on this train! This man has his pants unzipped and cannot keep his hand off his dick!” As a woman, it’s an internal battle of wanting to call the asshole out while also not wanting to put yourself in danger. Clearly, a man who’s deranged enough to touch himself in public is capable of worse. At this point, all I can do is hope that he gets the exposure he deserves, someone braver than me recognizes him, and gives him a swift knee to the balls.” [Published on June 29,2011 at 12:20 pm UPDATE: This story has gone viral and was covered by the Village Voice!]
- Victoria’s story: “Have a good look at this dumb-ass, waste of skin caught on CCTV having groped a woman as she was boarding the M train at Broadway-Lafayette on the morning of November 10. The perpetrator is said to be a 35-year-old man with a large build, carrying an iPad and wearing a backpack. After the assault, he fled the scene, but was not clever enough to avoid the subway security camera. So look closely at the picture and help the police apprehend this degenerate so we can teach him to respect others and keep his grubby paws to himself. If you recognize this man or have any other information please call the NYPD Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or log onto the Crime Stoppers Website www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.” Published on June 28,2011 at 12:41 am
My all time favorite is this video:
This video also went viral and even ended up on a website for “exhibitionists” according to a story in Salon. Take a look at some of the comments these guys made…unbelievable!
It is no wonder that the iHollaback movement has taken off like wildfire.